Reddit hosted a former Amazon Seller Support rep in an Ask Me Anything
(AMA) session over the weekend. Reddit user Formersesu began the IAmA session with the following introduction: "I worked at a Seller Support location in the US for almost two years and left about three months ago. I am not an official spokesperson and my opinion in no way reflect the position of the company. I no longer work in Seller Support, but am now in a different role supporting Amazon's 3P sellers. AMA!"
The top five questions (as rated by participants) were the following:
1) In your experience, do you feel the Amazon is sometimes unjustified in suspending and banning sellers? It is something most of us are terrified of.
2) What should 3rd party sellers avoiding doing which pisses off seller support? What should we be doing instead?
3) Would I be jeopardizing my selling account if I took advantage of someone's repricer, drove their price down and bought out their inventory? I've never found a straight answer on this, even after asking seller support. I've never dared to pull that trigger because I love selling on Amazon too much and don't want to lose the privilege.
4) What are the top three things that get people's accounts suspended and what can be done to prevent it?
5) I realize this may not be directly related to your previous job description but maybe you can provide some insight. Are suspensions triggered primarily by bots?
Sellers are incredibly concerned about suspensions, as the questions show, something we took a look at last month when Amazon confirmed it uses bots
to identify potential customer issues.
So what were some of the most egregious things Formersesu had seen sellers do?
"Oh dear... send images as proof that are blatantly photoshopped or the first hit on Google Reverse Image search. Start swearing at us or calling us names in emails. Being incredibly rude to their own customers in the buyer-seller messages and then complaining about how Seller Support provides bad service (I always point out the irony). The worst one I saw was during Christmas, sellers buy their competitor's inventory with an invalid credit card. This tied up their inventory and redirected traffic. That said, we're constantly improving the integrity of the transactions so don't get any ideas."
What about the Buy Box?
"Oh god. The Buy Box. I knew it was coming. There is no special answer. The Buy Box winner is generated by an algorithm and multiple factors are taken into account. There are likely hundreds, if I had to guess, and they change daily. It really is complicated and completely privileged information. I mentioned in a previous post, but listing your item's MSRP and your price below increases your chances of winning the Buy Box. Other than that, there are no special tricks other than keep your account health in good shape, use FBA and set competitive prices.
"I'll also add that Seller Support cannot make changes so seriously don't even ask. A better question is, "Do you have any tips on how I can win the Buy Box?" There is tribal knowledge picked up. I met with a program manager for a specific category a couple months ago who mentioned changes for said category. I can't mention it here, but whenever I got information like this, I would always strongly encourage sellers to take a specific action without sharing too much."
And how does Amazon view sellers shipping from China?
"Amazon is a global company and China is a big market that comes with its own issues that are different from sellers residing in the US and probably obvious - higher potential for counterfeits, language barriers, etc. Amazon responded by providing support in Mandarin and if the data supports the decision, I image it would only expand. Seller Support was definitely annoyed at the language and cultural barriers with this customer base, but there wasn't really a solution that didn't require a large process to scale."
We've got more in Wednesday's newsletter
, let us know what you think of this Amazon AMA.